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Maria Oliva-Hemker, M.D.

 Maria Oliva-Hemker Maria Oliva-Hemker - At Johns Hopkins since 1993

Director, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Why did you decide to join Johns Hopkins Medicine?

Hopkins’ reputation and its focus on achieving excellence in clinical care, research and education. Rather than being complacent with doing one thing well, I think it is important that Hopkins highlights all three of these areas in medicine in its mission. I also was attracted to the sense of history that one gets walking the halls of Hopkins. There is a certain pride that comes with knowing the impact that this institution has had on the history of medicine and with that pride comes a desire to be part of the institution and move it forward.

Why have you decided to stay at Johns Hopkins Medicine?

By far it has been the people. The colleagues who I am surrounded by are passionate about the work that they do and they want to do things very well. They go the extra mile for their patients and their research, and are collegial to those around them. They tend to be altruistic and know how to make things happen even in underresourced environments.

Communicate effectively — learn when to speak up and when silence is needed.

Please tell us about how you reached your leadership position.

My goals were not to reach a leadership position, but to be the best physician I could be and add knowledge to my specialty. In striving for those goals, I was able to reach my current leadership opportunities when they became available. In my Hopkins career I felt that several experiences provided me with leadership training that I have been able to use to reach and continue in my current position: Exposure to high level leaders at the school of medicine and Johns Hopkins Hospital during my tenure as faculty senate chair and on the CPA; Johns Hopkins University and school of medicine leadership courses; and mentorship from women leaders.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of at Johns Hopkins Medicine?

Development of a Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center that has achieved national recognition. Leading the division to be viewed as top pediatric GI group nationally. Expanding the size and scope of my division (more than doubling the size of the faculty, providing the highest volume of clinical care in the division’s history while maintaining a strong academic/research focus).

What advice would you give a woman who is aspiring to grow in her leadership responsibilities?

See yourself as a leader. Be willing to “take a seat at the table.” Find people who will support and encourage you. Network. Surround yourself with great people. Communicate effectively – learn when to speak up and when silence is needed. Stand up for what you believe in. Be your authentic self. Keep the big picture in mind. Take responsibility for your actions.

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